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Author Biography

To put it simply: we actively create everything we see, and there is no aspect of reality that does not depend on consciousness. Nizar Ibrahim scours Northern Africa for clues to what things were like there in the Cretaceous period. Paleontologist Nizar Ibrahim, a postdoc at the University of Chicago, wanted to uncover the mystery of the Spinosaurus, a gigantic predatory dinosaur whose only known remains were lost during World War II.

After identifying a new skeleton at a dig in North Africa, Ibrahim made the landmark conclusion that the Spinosaurus may have been the largest carnivorous dinosaur to ever live. Its crocodile-like head, dense bones, short legs, and wide, paddle feet suggest it was a water dweller unlike any other.

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Over thousands of archived and broadcast interviews, StoryCorps founder Dave Isay -- winner of the TED Prize -- has created an unprecedented document of the dreams and fears that touch us all. Since then, Isay has amassed hundreds of thousands of recordings, most of previously unheard or ignored voices, all speaking in their own words.

StoryCorps invites friends, loved ones and strangers to conduct minute interviews at intimate recording booths in Atlanta, Chicago, San Francisco, and until New York, as well as in mobile studios nationwide. Jedidah Isler studies blazars — supermassive hyperactive black holes that emit powerful jet streams. Jedidah Isler has been staring at the stars since she was 11 or In , she became the first African-American woman to receive a Ph.

D in Astrophysics from Yale. Isler studies blazars — supermassive hyperactive black holes at the center of galaxies, some of which emit powerful streams of particles. Sometimes these are oriented toward Earth, offering us a unique perspective on the physics of the universe. Isler is also interested in breaking down barriers that prevent many students — especially women of color — from becoming scienists. She works to make STEM accessible to new communities.

As manager of the Rosetta mission, Fred Jansen is in charge of the project that could be instrumental in uncovering clues to the origins of life on Earth.

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With his artistry and creativity, Bill T. Jones has inspired a generation of dancers, choreographers -- and audiences. In , Bill T. Jones co-founded the Bill T. Critics marvel not only at her ability to perfectly mimic accents and mannerisms, but also to seemingly reshape her body, down to pupils and dimples, in the blink of an eye. Jones' performances showcase a biting political awareness, and she has received commissions from Equality Now, the Kellogg Foundation and the National Immigration Forum to address issues of injustice and inequality. She debuted material from it at TED She is also working on a commission for Lincoln Center Theater and a television project based on her characters.

Paul Jones is founder of Tudor Investment Corporation and an active philanthropist. From a plant that lives or dies based on stock prices to an oilcan that flows backward, Matt Kenyon creates art that startles, amuses and challenges assumptions. She worked as a teacher and a missionary in a university for future leaders -- all while writing her book. Suki Kim is the only writer to ever go undercover into North Korea to write a book from the inside. Her work sheds a new light on the understanding of the North Korean society by delving into its day-to-day life and provides unprecedented insights into the psychology of its ruling class, about whom the world knows very little.

Daniel Kish expands the perceptual toolbox of both blind and sighted humans by teaching echolocation -- the ability to observe our surroundings via sound. Driven by fearless curiosity, he taught himself to navigate by clicking his tongue and listening for echoes -- a method science calls echolocation, and that Kish calls FlashSonar.

Kish and many researchers believe that echolocation produces images similar to sight, and allows the visually impaired to transcend the limited expectations of society. Davia Nelson and Nikki Silva are the Kitchen Sisters, independent radio producers dedicated to building community through storytelling. The Kitchen Sisters, radio producers Davia Nelson and Nikki Silva, have created hundreds of stories for public broadcast about the lives, histories, art and rituals of people who have shaped our diverse cultural heritage. Hidden Kitchens explores the world of secret, unexpected, below-the-radar cooking across America — how communities come together through food.

Other recent work includes the radio special Hidden Kitchens Texas , narrated by Willie Nelson; and Cry Me a River, a portrait of three pioneering river activists and the damming of wild rivers in the West, that aired as part of the series "Stories from the Heart of the Land. Dawn Landes, with her bright, supple voice and her restless imagination, is drawn to create and collaborate.

A master of singer-songwriter pop, she is now writing a musical called "Row. David Lang is a maker whose craving for adventure turned him into an amateur ocean explorer. But they weren't quite sure how to go about it. Without much expertise or money , the two put initial designs for an underwater robot explorer online. Soon OpenROV was born: a community of citizen ocean explorers who build and constantly improve upon these small remote operated underwater robots.

He lives on a sailboat in the San Francisco Bay. A humanist in Silicon Valley, Tim Leberecht argues that in a time of artificial intelligence, big data and the quantification of everything, we are losing sight of the importance of the emotional and social aspects of our work. Danielle N. Lee examines the ecology and natural history of nuisance rodents, using hip-hop to share science with broader audiences. Lee examines the ecology and natural history of nuisance rodents across urban gradients, from the small field mice of North America to the giant pouched rats of Tanzania.

A strong advocate for diversity and inclusion in the sciences, she uses hip-hop to share science with broader audiences. She's currently studying the behavioral differences between city mouse and country mouse, with the aim of understanding how and why rodents successfully vex us by living in and near our homes, pantries, farms and silos. Monica Lewinsky advocates for a safer and more compassionate social media environment, drawing from her unique experiences at the epicenter of a media maelstrom in Lewinsky survived to reclaim her personal narrative. Eric Lewis aka ELEW fuses a highly intricate style of jazz improvisation with physical, rocking grooves in a musical cocktail he calls "Rockjazz.

Eric Lewis -- who reinvented himself as ELEW a decade into his career -- began his musical journey as a jazz pianist, winning the Thelonious Monk competition and performing alongside Wynton Marsalis and Elvin Jones, and as a member of the Lincoln Center Jazz Orchestra. Inspired by rock, ELEW began melding his classically trained piano skills with modern rhythms, creating a genre of music he calls "Rockjazz.

Using algorithms built on machine learning methods such as neural network models, the Stanford Artificial Intelligence Lab led by Fei-Fei Li has created software capable of recognizing scenes in still photographs -- and accurately describe them using natural language. Manuel Lima studies how information can be organized -- into elegant and beautiful diagrams that illustrate the many unexpected twists of big data.

After setting a record for sailing around the world, Dame Ellen MacArthur has turned her attention toward creating a more "circular" economy -- where resources and power recirculate and regenerate. It's a tradition among British citizens: If you circumnavigate the globe by sail, you'll earn royal honors. Ellen MacArthur was made a dame in after the fastest solo sail around the world. But when you sail alone around the world, things come into focus. Dame Ellen, at the top of her sailing career, had become acutely aware of the finite nature of the resources our linear economy relies on. In , she launched the Ellen MacArthur Foundation, which works with education and business to accelerate the transition to a regenerative circular economy.

She also runs the Ellen MacArthur Cancer Trust, using sailing to build confidence for kids following cancer treatment. Formerly, as deputy editor for TheAtlantic. His research has uncovered amazing stories of green technological experimentation from the past, forks in the road on the way to our present society. Madrigal is co-creator of Longshot magazine, a publication created in 48 hours with the help of internet tools and hundreds of contributors. The magazine was awarded the Knight-Batten Award for innovation. Using advanced data analysis tools, Rajiv Maheswaran and Second Spectrum help make basketball teams smarter.

Sports fans can get obsessed with stats about player performance and game-day physics. But basketball, a fluid and fast-moving game, has been tough to understand through numbers. Rajiv Maheswaran is working to change that, by offering pro basketball teams insight into game data to make better decisions. Maheswaran is the CEO and co-founder of Second Spectrum, a startup transforming sports through technology.

His research spans various aspects of multi-agent systems and distributed artificial intelligence using decision-theoretic and game-theoretic frameworks and solutions. His current interests focus on data analytics, visualization and real-time interaction to understand behavior in spatiotemporal domains. Like, say, the spatiotemporal domain around a basketball hoop. TED Senior Fellow Kristen Marhaver is a marine biologist studying the ecology, behavior and reproduction of reef corals. Kristen Marhaver's work combines classic scientific methods with new technologies to help threatened coral species survive their early life stages.

She was the first person to rear juveniles of the endangered Caribbean Pillar Coral. Now she's now developing bacterial tools to improve coral survival at all life stages. She's earned five fellowships and grants from the US National Science Foundation and multiple awards for science communication. Outside the lab, Marhaver advocates for stronger ocean conservation and smarter science communication. Her talks and articles have been featured by Google, Wired UK, Mission Blue and by ocean and scuba festivals around the world.

As the co-founder of Reverb Technologies, the maker of the online dictionary Wordnik, Erin McKean is reshaping how we interact with language itself. Erin McKean's job as a lexicographer involves living in a constant state of research. She searches high and low -- from books to blogs, newspapers to cocktail parties -- for new words, new meanings for old words, or signs that old words have fallen out of use.

In June of this year, she involved us all in the search by launching Wordnik , an online dictionary that houses all the traditionally accepted words and definitions, but also asks users to contribute new words and new uses for old words. Wordnik pulls real-time examples of word usage from Twitter, image representations from Flickr along with many more non-traditional, and highly useful, features.

Is there anything she can't do? Surprisingly, she is notoriously bad at Scrabble. Maryn McKenna recounts the often terrifying stories behind emerging drug-resistant diseases that medical science is barely keeping at bay. For her forthcoming book, McKenna is researching the symbiotic history of food production and antibiotics, and how their use impacts our lives, societies and the potential for illness.

Cosmin Mihaiu is the CEO and co-founder of MIRA Rehab, which develops software that engages patients in interactive and therapeutic games, making physical rehabilitation fun. When Cosmin Mihaiu noticed that injured patients hated physical therapy — and often took longer to recover because of it — he dedicated himself to making the dreaded process more engaging, or even fun. In he and his colleagues founded MIRA Rehab , where they develop software that lets patients play interactive, therapeutic games. Working at the frontiers of interactive technology, Chris Milk stretches virtual reality into a new canvas for storytelling.

He is known for weaving artistic and technological innovations in pursuit of the next great platform for storytelling. His interactive installation artworks have been showcased at the MoMA, the Tate Modern and museums around the world. As the CEO of Public Radio International, Alisa Miller works to bring the most significant news stories to millions -- empowering Americans with the knowledge to make choices in an interconnected world.

Alisa Miller wants to define the future of how people will engage with storytelling and technology. Palliative care specialist BJ Miller helps patients face their own deaths realistically, comfortably, and on their own terms. But his experiences form the foundation of a hard-won empathy for patients who are running out of time. Two saxophone players and a drummer, Moon Hooch whip up a raw, infectiously danceable sound. Moon Hooch have played on subway platforms and in cow pastures, but wherever they go they seem to incite a little bit of disorder.

Watch their viral video " Cattle Dance Party " if you doubt. Two sax players, Mike Wilbur and Wenzl McGowen, and drummer James Muschler whip together a brittle, funky sound using call-and-response horn parts amplified by whatever's handy -- PVC tubes, traffic cones Their second album, This Is Cave Music, came out last fall; the title refers to the term Moon Hooch coined to describe their sound: like house music, but more primitive and jagged and raw.

There, she uses laser "tweezers" to try and separate diseased cells from healthy ones. She's also developed a way to use laser pulses to target drug delivery into cells. Andrews in Scotland. In , she was named one of 20 Youngest Power Women in Africa by Forbes magazine; that same year she was given the Order of Mapungubwe for her contribution in the field of biophotonics. She's also a TED Fellow. He collaborated with Ken Burns on a six-hour documentary for PBS based on his book, updating the story with recent discoveries in oncology.

In his new TED Book, The Laws of Medicine , he examines the three principles that govern modern medicine -- and every profession that confronts uncertainty and wonder. Latif Nasser is the director of research at Radiolab, where he has reported on such disparate topics as culture-bound illnesses, snowflake photography, sinking islands and 16th-century automata.

The history of science is "brimming with tales stranger than fiction," says Latif Nasser, who wrote his PhD dissertation on the Tanganyika Laughter Epidemic of A writer and researcher, Nasser is now the research director at Radiolab, a job that allows him to dive into archives, talk to interesting people and tell stories as a way to think about science and society. From the micro scale to the building scale, Neri Oxman imagines and creates structures and objects that are inspired, informed and engineered by, for and with nature.

Neri Oxman creates designs that usher the next building revolution by constructing products that transcend parts and assemblies. Head of the Mediated Matter research group at the MIT Media Lab, an architect and designer, she leads the search for ways in which digital fabrication technologies interact with natural environments and the biological world.

After sustaining a head injury, Jason Padgett sees the world as a mesh of fractal shapes. Now he shares his visions with eye-popping geometric drawings. In , Jason Padgett was a constantly partying, year-old wild man, when he was violently mugged outside a karaoke bar. His resulting head injury caused him to see cascades of crystals when he turned on the water faucet, interlocking triangles when he looked at trees, and illuminated nets when the sun burst through the trees. He became a mathematics-obsessed hermit. His book Struck by Genius explains his experience and gives hints of the science behind it.

Psychotherapist Esther Perel is changing the conversation on what it means to be in love and have a fulfilling sex life. But how? Perel, a licensed marriage and family therapist with a practice in New York, travels the world to help people answer this question. For her research she works across cultures and is fluent in nine languages.

She coaches, consults and speaks regularly on erotic intelligence, trauma, sexual honesty and conflict resolution. Her latest work focuses on infidelity: what it is, why happy people do it and how couples can recover from it. She aims to locate this very personal experience within a larger cultural context. Stephen Petranek untangles emerging technologies to predict which will become fixtures of our future lives -- and which could potentially save them. Rodrigo y Gabriela fuse metal, jazz and world music into an exhilarating cocktail of complex arrangements and virtuoso musicianship.

Since they left Mexico for Ireland in , Rodrigo y Gabriela have established themselves as one of the most popular acoustic instrumental bands in the world. They have sold in excess of 1. From humble beginnings as buskers on Dublin's Grafton Street, endless touring and a great word of mouth buzz carried the band forward until their international break out with the release of their self-titled album, which spawned the hits "Tamacun," "Diablo Rojo" and their cover of "Stairway To Heaven.

Before embarking on a solo career, he was for two seasons principal cellist of the Seattle Symphony, a position he won in at the age of For his ongoing creative initiatives on behalf of classical music, he has been selected as a TED Fellow, joining a select group of Next Generation innovators who have shown unusual accomplishments and the potential to positively affect the world.

In addition to his solo work, Roman is an avid chamber music performer. In spring , he was named Artistic Director of TownMusic, an experimental chamber music series at Town Hall in Seattle, where he creates programs that feature new works and reflect the eclectic range of his musical influences and inspirations. His versatility as a performer and his ongoing exploration of new concertos, chamber music, and solo cello works have spawned projects with composers such as Aaron Jay Kernis, Mason Bates, and Dan Visconti.

Embracing both genetically improved seed and ecologically based farming methods, Pamela Ronald aims to enhance sustainable agriculture. But the success of her genetic tinkering is uncontroversial: it shows that genetic improvement is a critical component of feeding the world without further destroying the environment. Instead we must ask what technology most enhances local food security and can provide safe, abundant and nutritious food to consumers.

After creating satellite radio with a startup that went on to become Sirius XM, Martine Rothblatt was on the verge of retirement. Her latest book, Virtually Human , explores human rights for the digital lifeforms just over the horizon. With books and strategies, David Rothkopf helps people navigate the perils and opportunities of our contemporary geopolitical landscape.

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As Prime Minister during the global financial crisis and as one of the founders of the G20 , Rudd helped keep Australia out of recession with a stimulus strategy lauded by the IMF as exemplary among its member states. He organized the Global March Against Child Labor in the s to raise awareness and free millions of children shackled in various forms of modern slavery.

His activism was also instrumental in the adoption of Convention No. Developmental behavior studies spearheaded by Laura Schulz are changing our notions of how children learn. Her research bridges computational models of cognitive development and behavioral studies in order to understand the origins of inquiry and discovery. Some of the surprising results of her research: before the age of four, children expect hidden causes when events happen probabilistically, use simple experiments to distinguish causal hypotheses, and trade off learning from instruction and exploration.

While exploring the neuroscience of speech and vocal behavior, Sophie Scott stumbled upon a surprising second vocation: making audiences laugh as a stand-up comic. French-Tunisian artist eL Seed blends the historic art of Arabic calligraphy with graffti to portray messages of beauty, poetry and peace across all continents. His goal: to create dialogue and promote tolerance as well as change global perceptions of what Arabic means. In , for instance, he painted a message of unity on a meter-high minaret on the Jara mosque in Gabes, Tunisia.

Most recently he created a sprawling mural in the Manshiyat Naser neighborhood of Cairo that spans 50 buildings and can only be viewed from a local mountaintop. Intending to honor the historic garbage collectors of the Manshiyat Naser neighborhood, the piece reads, "Anyone who wants to see the sunlight clearly needs to wipe his eye first. Aomawa Shields studies the climate and habitability of planets outside of the Solar System.

She uses her theater and writing background to communicate science to the public in engaging, innovative ways. In , Dame Stephanie "Steve" Shirley founded Freelance Programmers, a software firm with innovative work practices -- and mainly women employees. In the austerity of post-World War II England, jobs were few, and opportunities for women to earn a wage were even fewer.

So, on her dining room table, Stephanie Shirley founded the kind of company she'd like to work for -- one that posed challenging, rewarding tasks, built around flexible work rules that made it possible to have a real life. Her software company, Freelance Programmers made her one of the richest women in England and one of the few to have earned her own money. But money wasn't Shirley's object. Conversely, I was determined never, ever to be poor again.

Shirley retired in , but she hasn't stopped pushing for progress in the fields she loves. For instance, she works tirelessly to push forward research into autism spectrum disorders, as well as to study and improve the IT industry and the role of the internet in society. She told the Guardian , "I do get committed, and I don't just give my money; I try to give of myself.

Steve Silberman is a writer and contributing editor for Wired who covers science and society. His newest book explores neurodiversity and the link between autism and genius. After astonishing success as a mathematician, code breaker and billionaire hedge fund manager, Jim Simons is mastering yet another field: philanthropy.

As a mathematician who cracked codes for the National Security Agency on the side, Jim Simons had already revolutionized geometry -- and incidentally laid the foundation for string theory -- when he began to get restless. Along with a few hand-picked colleagues he started the investment firm that went on to become Renaissance, a hedge fund working with hitherto untapped algorithms, and became a billionaire in the process.

The Simons Foundation has committed more than a billion dollars to math and science education and to autism research. Clint Smith is a writer, teacher and doctoral candidate at Harvard University studying education, incarceration and inequality. He was born and raised in New Orleans, LA.

The true promise of 3D printing, suggests Rick Smith, is not found in home workshops but in large industrial production. Christopher Soghoian researches and exposes the high-tech surveillance tools that governments use to spy on their own citizens, and he is a champion of digital privacy rights. TED Fellow Christopher Soghoian is a champion of digital privacy rights, with a focus on the role that third-party service providers play in enabling governments to monitor citizens.

As the principal technologist at the American Civil Liberties Union, he explores the intersection of federal surveillance and citizen's rights. Soghoian is also the creator of Do Not Track , an anti-tracking device that all major web browsers now use, and his work has been cited in court. With her lustrous voice and wide-ranging musical curiosity, Somi spins elegant vocal jazz from African legacies. She is currently working on a jazz opera about the life and legacy of South African singer and activist Miriam Makeba. Alec Soth makes large-scale projects that are as much about dreams and heartache as they are about charting the landscape of Middle America.

Alec Soth is a photographer born and based in Minnesota. The New York Times once wrote that Soth has made a "photographic career out of finding chemistry with strangers. In , Soth started his own experimental publishing company, Little Brown Mushroom, that explores the possibilities of combining images and text. Teitur crafts songs with unexpected lyrical twists portraying everything from awkward love affairs to lost weekends. Noy Thrupkaew reports on human trafficking and the economics of exploitation through the lens of labor rights.

Noy Thrupkaew writes on global issues on a local scale. The focus of her studies and the subject of her forthcoming book is human trafficking and the exploitative economic systems and corrupt officials behind it. She is a keen critic of the role of anti-trafficking organizations in the struggle against it, calling for long-range approaches that go beyond mere prohibition. Baratunde Thurston is an Emmy-nominated writer, activist and comedian who addresses serious issues with depth, wit and calls to action.

He believes the stories we tell help shape the world in which we live. Also, he's from the future.

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He makes media, delivers keynotes and promotes action with his unique blend of criticism, humor and optimism. Liu grew up in Riverside, California, where playing with insects in his backyard crystallized his interest in science. He also is passionate about photography and has been banned from playing blackjack at virtually every major casino in Las Vegas after developing a creative and highly advantageous card-counting system.

In her own words, Brittany Packnett is "a disciple of radical, productive candor. I found, through prayer and practice, that truth provokes change like nothing else ever will. We owe truth our fiercest loyalty. She writes for Teen Vogue and other publications, speaks to live and television audiences across the world, and coleads Campaign Zero. Everyday, she uses platforms on and offline to activate people toward action and equip them with the skills and mindsets to make disciplined social change. According to Roger Hanlon, "The diversity and sophistication of marine animals fascinates me, and my cornerstone passion is animal behavior.

I particularly enjoy diving in different ocean habitats and studying animals that change color and pattern -- especially octopus, cuttlefish and squid, but also various coral reef fishes. I am keenly interested in the 'visual ecology' of rapid adaptive coloration used for both camouflage and communication. Derren Brown redefines magic through must-see TV and stage events, exhilarating audiences for 20 years in the UK and now worldwide with his brand of psychological illusion.

He has gained a reputation as a performer consistently prepared to break down boundaries. Doug Roble has really only had one job in his life. Once there, he found a unique place where art and technology collide. Now he builds new tools for artists to use and they, in turn, use the tools in surprising and unexpected ways. The feedback loop between art and science is completely addicting. And, the byproduct of this are movies that the whole world enjoys.

Roble's work outside Digital Domain reflects this passion. He was the Editor and Chief of the Journal of Graphics tools for more than five years. Self-proclaimed "justice nerd" Dr. Phillip Atiba Goff devotes himself to understanding how people think and talk about racism in order to prevent racist behavior -- particularly in policing. He identifies the need to shift how we define racism: not as a defect of character, but rather a display of biased behaviors that are measurable and changeable.

Goff is the cofounder of the Center for Policing Equity, an organization that diagnoses the roots of disparate policing in order to eliminate them. As a mediator and translator, Goff helps communities and law enforcement understand each other and address problems that have for centuries been unsolvable.

Joanne Chory grew up in Boston in a close-knit Lebanese-American family who helped her develop the self-confidence to venture into the unknown -- college away from home where she fell in love with genetics and graduate school where she learned the value of doing a good experiment and the joy that brings. Over three decades, she's built a career at the forefront of plant biology, pursuing fundamental questions of how plants perceive and adapt to changing environments.

She's received many of science's top distinctions -- she is a Howard Hughes Medical Institute investigator and a Breakthrough Prize winner, as well as winner of the Gruber Genetics Prize. Recently, she realized that her work could address the critical problem of climate change. Plants already take carbon dioxide out of the atmosphere; we just need to help them adapt to storing the CO2 in a more stable form.

Chory is excited to take one more step into the unknown, with a chance to change our planet's future. These diseases include blinding trachoma, intestinal worms, lymphatic filariasis, river blindness and schistosomiasis. With focused attention, local and global coordination, and additional targeted resources, each of these diseases could be controlled or eliminated in the next decade.

As a board member of the Legatum Institute, she studies pathways from poverty to prosperity. She is a member of Uniting to Combat NTDs, a collective of organizations fighting to defeat ten neglected tropical diseases. As Claudia Miner writes: "I'm an historian by training, but I took a different path. The classroom moved too slowly for me so, after graduate school, I moved to the nonprofit world where I focused on operations and fundraising.

I've now been here for more than 30 years. It spoke to me in a way no other work had. Working with great people, we charted a course to serve children in the home to get them ready for school. This was a radical move -- especially since we were putting our faith in parents -- but it fit my beliefs and has become my passion.

Knowing I have a role in helping children set the stage for success in life gets me up in the morning with a great and powerful purpose. David Baker is fascinated by biological self-organization. The DNA code was solved more than 50 years ago, but the protein folding code has remained one of biology's greatest challenges. Starting 20 years ago, Baker's research team began using computers to model the structures of proteins. His work has advanced to the point where he can now not only predict the shape of natural proteins but also design completely new ones.

In recent years, he's designed new experimental cancer therapies, vaccines, nanomaterials and more. He believes that the emerging field of protein design will fundamentally change how people make medicines, materials and more around the world. Now that the protein folding code is solved, the sky's the limit.

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He has also launched more than ten companies that are seeking to bring designed proteins into the real world. He is a champion of the idea of natural capital -- valuing nature for its own sake as well as for the services it provides for people, such as clean air and water, productive soils and a stable climate. It was becoming a parent that sparked his passion for nature.

Safeena Husain is the Founder and Executive Director of Educate Girls, and she's well acquainted with the problem she's trying to solve. As a girl in Delhi, she found refuge and opportunity in her studies -- and while she later dropped out of school, a loving parent helped her to return to her education and go on to graduate from the London School of Economics. She led the US-based organization Child Family Health International for seven years, and in , returned to India to take on the issue closest to her heart. In , she launched Educate Girls in Rajasthan, a region of India where women and girls face some of the greatest disparities in the country.

She has shepherded the organization through dramatic growth. Julie Cordua is driven by a desire to break down traditional silos and barriers and bring the resources and talent of the private sector to bear on some of our society's worst social problems. In , she left the wireless technology industry to work on AIDS in Africa and other pressing global problems. Today, Thorn's tools are deployed in more than 30 countries, having helped to identify more than 30, victims of abuse and reduce investigative time by more than 65 percent.

It broke the chart record for the most consecutive weeks inside the UK's Official Albums Chart Top 10, breaking the year record previously held by The Beatles. In she was awarded an MBE for services to Music. She's also performed at both the opening and closing ceremonies of the London Olympics and at the White House for Barack Obama. Doblin's professional goal is to become a legally licensed psychedelic psychotherapist by developing legal contexts for the safe uses of psychedelics and marijuana as prescription medicines and also for personal growth, spirituality and creativity.

Doblin received his master's and PhD in public policy from the Kennedy School of Government at Harvard University, and he was in the first group to be certified by Dr. Stanislav Grof as a Holotropic Breathwork practitioner. As CEO of the One Love Foundation, Katie believes that healthy relationship education is a "simple but shockingly nontraditional solution that can impact millions and drive meaningful change. The problem is hard, but the impact of a scalable prevention approach that talks to young people in a language they can hear at the earliest stages of their dating lives could be massive.

When Elizabeth Dunn got her first job, she wondered what to do with the money that was suddenly appearing in her bank account. So she teamed up with her friend Mike Norton at Harvard to figure out how people could use money to buy the most happiness. It was selected by the Washington Post as one of the "top 20 books every leader should read. Recently, her work has focused on how people navigate trade-offs between time and money, and how mobile technology can both support and undermine human happiness. Dunn is an avid skier and surfer, and she survived a shark attack. Claire Wardle is a research fellow at TED working on a new initiative to help improve the quality of information online.

She is also the Executive Chair of First Draft, a nonprofit dedicated to educating journalists about reporting in an age of information disorder. Included in Fortune 's "40 under 40," Forbes ' list of the "30 Under 30" and The Root's , Tubbs's leadership, paired with an ambitious agenda, has received national recognition. Tubbs also brought Advance Peace to Stockton, a data-driven program that works to reduce gun violence in communities. Elected at age 22 in , he became one of the youngest city councilmembers in the country.

As a councilmember, Tubbs created the Reinvent South Stockton Coalition, championed the creation of the City's Office of Violence Prevention and was part of the council that led the city out of bankruptcy as Chair of the Audit and Legislative Committee. Tubbs graduated from Stanford University in with a bachelor's and master's degree with honors. He is a Stockton native and product of Stockton public schools. Despite being raised by "old-school Southerners" who would've preferred she embarked on a sensible career, award-winning author Jacqueline Woodson tells us that "I've known I wanted to be a writer since I was around seven years old.

I loved everything about stories -- how they made me feel and think, the joy good ones brought both the listener and the teller, the double and deeper meanings I knew writing made me happiest, and wrote as often as I could. I write for young people and old people.

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I write for magazines, newspapers. I write speeches and plays. I do this because it's never not joyful for me. Sharmeen Obaid-Chinmoy writes: "'If a door hasn't opened for you, it's because you haven't kicked it hard enough' -- that is how I have lived my life. I am an accidental filmmaker, and picked up my first camera after graduating in economics and government. I traveled around the world shining a light on marginalized communities, refugees, women whose resilience in the face of adversity has inspired me to amplify their story. He is a writer for the Netflix original series BoJack Horseman and is currently writing the screenplay for an original idea with Fox Family and Chernin Entertainment.

He helped develop The Laughing Room, a self-aware sitcom set that plays a laugh track based on what participants say in the room. His work explores how technology interfaces with our lived, human experiences, believing that this critical eye on technology is essential to the stories we tell about contemporary life.

Sun's work comes from deeply personal places, asking: "Does anyone else feel this way too? Sarah Sze's work questions the value society places on images and objects and how they both ascribe meaning to the places and times we inhabit. Widely recognized for expanding the boundaries between painting, sculpture, video and installation, Sze's work ranges from intimate paintings that collapse time and space to expansive installations that create complex constellations of materials and public works that scale walls and colonize architectures.

In , she represented the United States at the Venice Biennale. Guggenheim Museum and The Tate Modern. Rahul Mehrotra is an architect working from Mumbai and Boston, where he also teaches at Harvard University. His work covers a range of buildings, from houses to institutional to office buildings. A recent project was a housing estate for elephants and their caretakers in Jaipur, India. Mehrotra is passionate about writing. He's also written on urbanism in India and is currently working on a book on his experiences as a practitioner in India. We are a team of architects, designers, urbanists, landscape professionals, interior and product designers, and inventors" who utilize information -- "local culture and climate, changing patterns of contemporary life, the ebbs and flows of the global economy"-- to drive the design process.

Ingels grew up in Copenhagen, Denmark. Over the next 15 years, Ailey created some of his most enduring roles for her, most notably the tour-de-force solo Cry. Jamison continues to dedicate herself to asserting the prominence of the arts in our culture. In , Stamatiou received the Leonore Annenberg Fellowship in the performing and visual arts. She is a certified Gyrotonic and Gyrokinesis instructor and a mother of two. Stamatiou first joined the Company in and rejoined in Solomon Dumas was introduced to dance through AileyCamp.

Dumas joined the Company in There, she performed works by George Balanchine, Bill T. Jones, Paul Taylor and Twyla Tharp. She also performed at the DanceOpen Festival in St. Petersburg, Russia. Figgins was featured both on the cover of Dance Spirit magazine and in Pointe magazine's "10 Careers to Watch" in Figgins joined the Company in Its episodes feature interviews with world-class thinkers, founders and scientists on topics including synthetic biology, super-AI risk, Fermi's paradox, robotics, archaeology and lone-wolf terrorism.

Listen created Rhapsody, the world's first unlimited on-demand streaming music service. Rhapsody's model was later adopted by Spotify, Apple and many others. Earlier still, Reid was born into the New York City foster care system, was adopted with merciful speed, then grew up in a peaceful New York suburb. Philosopher Nick Bostrom envisioned a future full of human enhancement, nanotechnology and machine intelligence long before they became mainstream concerns.

From his famous simulation argument -- which identified some striking implications of rejecting the Matrix-like idea that humans are living in a computer simulation -- to his work on existential risk, Bostrom approaches both the inevitable and the speculative using the tools of philosophy, probability theory, and scientific analysis. Since , Bostrom has led the Future of Humanity Institute , a research group of mathematicians, philosophers and scientists at Oxford University tasked with investigating the big picture for the human condition and its future.

He has been referred to as one of the most important thinkers of our age. Ella Al-Shamahi sometimes calls herself an "adventure-scientist" -- but to her, it's less about the adventure of working in places like Yemen, Iraq, the Nagorno-Karabakh and northern Cyprus. She believes in using expeditions to shed light on some of the most misunderstood and disadvantaged people and places on earth. Al-Shamahi is a TV presenter and stand-up comic, partly because she realized that it was an incredible way to communicate science. She performs stand-up and nerdy-science stand-up in the UK and internationally.

She was named a National Geographic Emerging Explorer. The Five Deeps Expedition was envisioned and sponsored by Texas native Victor Vescovo, who will solo pilot the submersible on each of its main dives. In , Vescovo became the 12th American to complete the "Explorers Grand Slam," which requires climbing the highest peak on all seven of the world's continents, including Mt. Everest, and skiing at least kilometers to both the North and South Poles.

He recently became the first person to the bottom of the Atlantic and Southern Oceans, and in he could become the first person in history to have climbed to the top of all the world's continents as well as descended to the bottom of all its oceans, including the Challenger Deep. For more than 20 years, Vescovo served as an officer in the U. Navy Reserve, retiring in as a Commander O Vescovo is also certified as a jet fixed-wing aircraft and helicopter pilot, as well as a submarine test pilot.

How would Hannah Gadsby describe herself to a teenager at a dinner party? Prior to said special, I had spent a decade or so quietly working my way round the live stand-up circuit in Australia and the UK and had thought of my career as a reasonably successful situation. I am yet to recalibrate my definition of success since the event known as 'said special. I have two dogs whom I love deeply. I enjoy gardening. And I am so sorry you are sitting next to me, teenager.

Prior to that, he worked on the magazine's editorial staff, splitting his time between writing stories about such topics as hip-hop purism and the Truman Show delusion and editing stories about Las Vegas night clubs, Liberian warlords and many other things. Since , Marantz has been at work on a book about the perils of virality, the myth of linear progress and the American far right. To report the book, he spent several years embedded with some of the conspiracists, white supremacists and nihilist trolls who have become experts at using social media to advance their corrosive agendas.

He also watched as some of social media's earliest and most influential founders started to reckon with the forces they'd unleashed. He holds an undergraduate degree in religion from Brown University and a master's degree in literary nonfiction from New York University. He lives in Brooklyn with his wife, who is a criminal-justice reformer; his two-year-old son, who is an excellent dancer; and an endless supply of peanut butter. Kristie Ebi has been conducting research and developing practice on the health risks of climate variability and change for over 20 years, understanding sources of vulnerability, estimating current and future health risks of climate change, and designing adaptation policies for countries in Central America, Europe, Africa, Asia and the Pacific.

As Asmeret Asefaw Berhe tells it: "My research investigates: 1 how the soil system controls the earth's climate, in particular how otherwise thermodynamically unstable organic compounds can remain in soil for up to millennia," and "2 the dynamic two-way relationship between human communities and the soil system that we depend on for our food and nutritional security, and the socio-political implications of land degradation. I am driven to ensure that scientific education and careers are equally accessible to people from all walks of life, and that academic workplaces are free from bias and harassment.

When Edward Tenner cites "the advantages of creative mistakes and serendipity," he speaks from the experience of shifting from the fast track to the scenic route after receiving his PhD during the academic retrenchment of the s. After a scientific publishing career leading to a university press executive editorship, he finally decided, with help from the Guggenheim Foundation, to begin writing his own books as a visitor at the Institute for Advanced Study.

Karen G. Lloyd is fascinated by what microbes are doing out in nature, so she applies molecular biological techniques to environmental samples to learn more about microbes that have thus far evaded attempts to be cultured in a laboratory. She and her colleagues have adapted novel techniques to quantify and characterize these mysterious microbes while requiring minimal changes to their natural conditions. Her work takes her on exciting field excursions to study deep oceanic subsurface sediments, deep-sea mud volcanoes and cold seeps, terrestrial volcanoes and hot springs, serpentinizing springs, Arctic marine fjord sediments and ancient permafrost.

She is currently an associate professor at the University of Tennessee. Emmett Shear is also a part-time partner at venture capital firm Y Combinator, where he advises startups on product and strategy. He graduated from Yale University in with a degree in computer science and was included in Forbes 's annual "30 under 30" list in Ivan Poupyrev has invented, developed and brought to market a number of breakthrough technologies that allow for blending of digital and physical interactivity in devices and everyday analog objects.

Now Director of Engineering in Google ATAP, Poupyrev leads a team of designers and engineers who are inventing new technologies that will redefine how we interact with both our physical and digital lives. In , Fast Company recognized Poupyrev as one of the world's greatest interaction designers. His most recent work was acquired for the permanent collection of the Smithsonian's Cooper Hewitt Design Museum. Anthony Veneziale cofounded "Freestyle Love Supreme," an improvised, hip hop, live musical performance that he reated with Lin-Manuel Miranda and Thomas Kail, and is soon appearing on Broadway.

Veneziale also cofounded speechlessinc. As director and founder of Reconfigurable Robotics Lab RRL , Jamie Paik taps a deep knowledge of fabrication and unique actuation solutions to create astonishing folding robots -- or, as she describes them: "robogamis. These self-morphing robotic origami transform their planar shapes to 2D or 3D by folding in predefined patterns and sequences, just like the paper art, origami. Her soft robots have commercial applications, including a robotic surgical tool and a haptic joystick that can render realistic force feedback beneath a user's fingertip.

Janelle Shane's humor blog, AIweirdness. According to Shane, she has only made a neural network-written recipe once -- and discovered that horseradish brownies are about as terrible as you might imagine. According to Herman Narula, "I have always been interested in how technology can enable creativity and solve tough problems, and I've always loved video games. SpatialOS is a tool for developers and gaming studios like Midwinter Entertainment, Klang Games and Bossa Studios to "add innovation to online games -- from short, team-based matches to huge, persistent shared environments.

Our goal is to help build the complex, interactive and highly connected virtual worlds where billions of people will meet, play and find real meaning in the near future. As Wajahat Ali writes: "I'm a left-handed son of Pakistani Muslim immigrants who is still trying to figure out what he wants to be when he grows up -- but once in a while, I can tell a great story and amuse people.

Now, I get paid to write and tell stories that are by us, for everyone. As a father of two caramel-mocha skinned babies with multi-syllabic names, I often ask myself, 'What's my role as a parent? How do I protect my children from unique challenges and horrors they will have to face? Not only have they brought us considerable joy, but they have inspired me to try to fix as many of the problems we face today, so all of our children can emerge as the protagonists of an evolving American narrative.

Priya Parker is helping us take a deeper look at how anyone can create collective meaning in modern life, one gathering at a time. A group conflict mediator, she's spent 15 years helping leaders and communities have complicated conversations during times of heat and transition. Frustrated by dull and disappointing gatherings, Parker set out to rewrite the rule book for creating transformative group experiences. She has worked on racial dialogues on American campuses and peace-building projects in India, Africa and the Arab world.

Barbara J. King writes and speaks about the thinking and feeling abilities of animals ranging from our closest living relatives, monkeys and apes, to orcas and octopuses. My husband and I care for homeless cats and spend all the time we can in nature.

The Grandest Small Folk Tales

I focus on how the science of animal cognition and emotion might help animals. Jon M. Chu is known for his visually stunning blockbuster films, as well as his kinetic work across various genres, from groundbreaking series to commercials and films. The film is the first non-period studio picture in more than 25 years to feature an all-Asian cast, and it represents a new chapter in Chu's year career. In the summer of , Chu will helm his most ambitious project to date: the highly anticipated adaptation of Lin-Manuel Miranda's musical In the Heights for Warner Bros.

According to Beau Lotto, "I have pretty much two aims: to create doubt through the awareness of perception, and to create space for holding that uncertainty. At its core, that's what science is: it celebrates not knowing in an attempt to find better questions. What might happen if we entered conflict with a curiosity instead of an anger? The barrier to doing so is that we hate not knowing.

But fortunately, evolution gave us a solution to that fear: namely, awe. Understanding how awe and wonder facilitate perception and our perceptual creations is what [my] work in neuroscience is all about. Lotto recently collaborated with Cirque du Soleil to conduct an ambitious study on the emotion of awe, proving that experiencing it has far-reaching psychological and behavioral benefits.

At TED, he'll be joined on stage by Cirque du Soleil performers in a unique performance that explores the transformational power of awe. In Joseph Gordon-Levitt's own words: "I'm lucky. I found a creative outlet young. I started working as an actor when I was six years old.

When I was 19, I quit acting to go to college. And a few years later, when I tried to get back into it, nobody would give me a part. That really hurt. I realized my old creative outlet wouldn't work anymore because it depended too much on other people. I had to be able to express myself on my own, and my personal metaphor for this was the REC button: 'Hit record,' I'd say to myself.

Get started, make something. Jon Gray is interesting because he's interested. His curiosity has taken him around the globe and has had him seated across the table from world renowned thinkers, artists and chefs, but he's most passionate about home. Founded in , Ghetto Gastro honors the block to block shifts and overlap in international cuisine and culture that happens in his borough. The collective is committed to feeding, inspiring and growing young entrepreneurs in the Bronx. Daniel Lismore is known for living his life as art.

His elaborate and extravagant ensembles brilliantly combine haute couture with vintage fabrics, found objects, chainmail, ethnic jewellery, millinery and more in an expression of eccentric, creative energy. Lismore has been named by Vogue as England's most eccentric dresser.

Ted Bear Esq.

A prominent fixture on the London fashion and art circuits, he is both a tastemaker and friend to artists ranging from Stephen Fry and Debbie Harry to Boy George and Edward Enninful. Lismore's personal wardrobe archive highlight his commitment to sustainable fashion. Es Devlin is an artist and stage designer.

She is known for creating large-scale performative sculptures and environments that fuse music, language and light. In she collaborated with theoretical physicist Carlo Rovelli on an interpretation of The Order of Time read by Benedict Cumberbatch. Her practice was the subject of the Netflix documentary series Abstract: The Art Of Design , and she has been named artistic director of the London Design Biennale.

As she tells it, Juna Kollmeier believes "all humans have an inalienable right to know about their world. For the past two decades, I have been studying the cosmos -- from planets to galaxies to black holes. I am currently making a new map of the sky -- the fifth generation of the Sloan Digital Sky Survey. Her research focuses on the emergence of structure in the universe on multiple scales and how the tiny fluctuations in density that were present when the universe was only , old became the stars, galaxies and black holes that we see now. Her goal is to complete this new SDSS sky map and to make sure these data remain available to the public for study.

Eric Liu says that "I write, speak, teach and create joyful programs to spread the belief that a strong democracy requires strong citizens. I've been a leader in local and national citizen reform movements. I've written books about democracy, power and race. And I felt I should not hoard this knowledge of how to make change happen; I should circulate it. Our team works with people from the left and right to teach civic power and cultivate civic character -- and to remind people that democracy works only if most people believe democracy works.

When Suleika Jaouad finally walked out of the hospital -- after countless rounds of chemo, a lifesaving clinical trial and a bone marrow transplant -- she was, according to the doctors, "cured. She set out on a day, 15,mile road trip across the country to meet some of the people who had written to her during her time in the hospital.

Jaouad is an Emmy-winning journalist, author, teacher and activist. Her career aspirations as a foreign correspondent were cut short when, at age 22, she was diagnosed with leukemia. Jaouad served on Barack Obama's Presidential Cancer Panel, and her advocacy work, public speaking and reporting have brought her everywhere from the United Nations and Capitol Hill to a maximum security prison and a two-room schoolhouse in rural Montana.

He graduated with a bachelor's in history from the University of Chicago before becoming a police reporter for the City News Bureau, a wire service owned jointly by the Chicago Tribune and Sun-Times. His last post at the Journal was as Op-ed Editor. His first post at the Journal was as editor of the book review section, and he filled in as the Journal 's movie critic.